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Before Very Nobility

In the contemporary world, we think of politeness as surface behavior, like frosting - it's sweet and attractive and finishes off the cake. But 19th century nobility and the enlightened thinkers and stoics before them viewed manners in a very different way. To them, manners are an outward expression of an inward struggle.

- Amor Towles

Through Social Class

I prefer to put myself in an environment that's further afield and look through the eyes of someone who differs from me in age, ethnicity, gender, and/or social class. I think a little displacement makes me a sharper observer.

- Amor Towles

Want Nostalgia Admirable

Of course, you wouldn't want to re-create the era of aristocracy; it was a totally unfair era. The finer aspects of it were admirable, and so there's nostalgia for that: the behavior, the values, the cultural sensitivities.

- Amor Towles

Very Bay Area Boulevard

One restaurant I visit without fail, whenever I'm in the Bay Area, is the Boulevard at 1 Mission Street, a few strides from the waterfront. It has excellent food and wine very much in the modern California style, but I go there less for any one dish than for the pleasure of dining with the restaurant's chefs.

- Amor Towles

More About Tell

What can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli.

- Amor Towles

Which Read Given

I had read Harold Bloom's 'Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?' Late in his life, having read everything, Bloom asked which books had given him wisdom. I had just read a bunch of contemporary novels that had no wisdom for me.

- Amor Towles

Feels Allowed Rooms

You can build a place that is beautiful, but nobody feels comfortable sitting in it, and the kids aren't allowed to go into many of the rooms. Or a place can look lived in, but it doesn't please the eye.

- Amor Towles

Been Fiction Kid

I've been writing fiction since I was a kid. From the age of 15 to 25, I probably wrote more than 50 short stories, one of which was published in 'The Paris Review' in 1989.

- Amor Towles

Which Art Been

My personal challenge as an artist has been having a day job which is intellectually satisfying and fun - and thus can easily supplant the desire to make art.

- Amor Towles

Hidden 1930s Civility

While I began writing 'Rules of Civility' in 2006, the genesis of the book dates back to the early 1990s, when I happened upon a copy of 'Many Are Called,' the collection of portraits that Walker Evans took on the New York City subways in the late 1930s with a hidden camera.

- Amor Towles

Having Woman Grandmother

My grandmother, who was simultaneously a woman of manners and verve, fended off marriage proposals until she was 30 because she was having too much fun to settle down.

- Amor Towles

Love Survive Russian

As awful as the crimes of Stalinism were, the vast majority of the Russian population was trying to survive, to love, to have a sense of purpose.

- Amor Towles

Purpose Hammered Elements

All the historical elements should feel organic to the story but not hammered down to serve a purpose.

- Amor Towles

Deserve Very Nature

By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration but our reconsideration.

- Amor Towles

About Feet Instrument

Growing up, I didn't come from a musical family. Neither of my parents played an instrument, sang out loud, or listened to the radio with frequency. The record collection in the living room was only about 2 feet long - and that included 4 solid inches of Neil Diamond and Herb Alpert.

- Amor Towles

Came Revelation Boston

To a bookish boy in a Boston suburb in the mid-1970s, the lyrics of Cole Porter came as something of a revelation.

- Amor Towles

Imagined Dad Boston

Dad has worked as a banker at the same firm in Boston, living in the same suburban neighborhood for over 50 years. Later in life, when I got out of graduate school and imagined myself living the life of a writer like Hemingway or Kerouac, his practical self inevitably encouraged me to get a steady a job and raise a family, just like he did.

- Amor Towles

Always Thought Inside

I always thought I was a writer on the inside, but after a few years of not writing, you can't make that claim anymore.

- Amor Towles

Being Minutes 60 Minutes

I totally remember that: being 25 and unemployed and trying to stretch each cappuccino for 60 minutes.

- Amor Towles

Think Some I Think

I think that, every individual you invent in narrative work, you have to have some root in who that person is. That may be an aspect of yourself; it may be an aspect of something that you like, that you don't like. It may be an aspect that you wish you had. Maybe something you admire in another person.

- Amor Towles

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Writing Poison Terrible

It's a terrible poison, writing.

- A. S. Byatt

Over Character Same

I don't want to get stuck playing the same character over and over again.

- Alexa Vega

Character Ideas Dialogue

I'm interested in character and dialogue and exchange of ideas.

- Alexander McCall Smith

Like Business Character

If a man's character is to be abused there's nobody like a relative to do the business.

- Alexander Pope

Cool Character Strong

It's cool to be a female character who gets to be really strong and tough.

- Alexandra Daddario

Character Leading Same

Character actors aren't a brand in the same way that high-profile leading men are.

- Alfred Molina

Character Responsibility

Playing a real-life character is a challenge and a huge responsibility.

- Ali Fazal

Writing My Time Occupying

I was writing and I have three kids. I was occupying my time with them but it was difficult.

- Alison Moyet

Writing Enjoy Born

I'm not a born writer, and I don't enjoy writing.

- Alistair Maclean

More Form Writing

Writing is something I should have done more of, it's a form of coming home.

- Amanda Harlech

Through Sentence Easygoing

I think I am really easygoing. Well... as I was about halfway through that sentence, I thought, 'No, actually you're really picky.' But the things I ask for are really simple to do.

- Amanda Harlech

Role Actor Writing

As an actor, my main focus is finding good writing and attacking a good role.

- Amanda Peet

Means Itself Sentence

'No' is an entire sentence in itself. No means no, and when somebody says it, you need to stop.

- Amitabh Bachchan

Better Writing Every Day

My personal writing philosophy is to try and write better every day.

- Amity Gaige

Like Give Sentence

Nobody writes like Nabokov; nobody ever will. What I would give to write one sentence like Vladimir!

- Amity Gaige

Writing Character Sentence

Early on in the writing, there is often a sentence that pins down a character for me.

- Amor Towles

Feel Good Story Sentence

I do feel that if you can write one good sentence and then another good sentence and then another, you end up with a good story.

- Amy Hempel

Sentence Supremacy Fused

Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it.

- Andrea Dworkin

More Away Sentence

I'm not a booky actor, I don't go away and do loads of reading up on a part, generally. I'm more interested in what the people we're portraying do physically, and looking at their sentence construction.

- Andrew Buchan

Give Character Stage

To give a successful character portrayal on stage or on film, the part has to be played inside of you.

- Yvette Mimieux